Plug In BC, an initiative administered by the Fraser Basin Council, has just announced the launch of a new Charging Solutions and Incentive Program. The program provides building owners, residents, registered businesses and others with financial incentives for the purchase and installation of EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment) and even offers expert consultation, education and advice on the subject.
The announcement is particularly timely, as the topic of EV charging has been making headlines in B.C. for the past couple of weeks; the city of Vancouver just announced it will require all newly constructed condo buildings (effective January 2019) to be equipped with EV charging infrastructure in 100% of parking stalls, up from the 20% that is currently required. This was in response to the ongoing increase of EV purchases in B.C. and globally, as sales of EVs jumped 53% in B.C. last year over 2016, and is widely anticipated to make up 20% of all new car sales by 2030.
But Vancouver has a lot of buildings that are already here, and while many building owners have set themselves up for EV charging by creating EV-Ready stalls (parking stalls which already have the electrical infrastructure needed for the installation of an EV charging station), a majority of building parking areas are still bare and unable to provide charging to this fast-growing number of EVs. It doesn’t help that the cost of retrofitting an existing building with EVSE is dramatically higher than the cost of equipping a new building with EVSE during the construction phase. This is where the rebate program comes in, and it’s a welcomed sight indeed.
There are currently three incentive categories in the Plug In BC program: single-family homes, residential buildings, and workplaces. The eligibility criteria are different for each, and the actual incentive amount varies as a percentage of the total project cost. While we’ll give credit to Plug In BC for their relatively straightforward web application, there are a lot of steps to take before an eligible party can begin. Even choosing the right equipment from a sea of manufacturers and planning an EV charging project can be a looming task.
Kambo makes it easy and can even prepare your application for you. We've gone through the program top to bottom, and gathered together the highlights of each incentive category below:
Single-Family or Duplex Home
(defined as a detached or partially-detached residential home)
Single family or duplex homeowners can request reimbursement for 75% (up to $750) of the purchase and installation costs of an eligible Level 2 EV charging station. Applicants can receive reimbursement for one charging station per dwelling; if you own multiple homes, you will be required to provide a proof of title for each separate home. It’s important to know that the applicable home must be at least six months old, as this program is intended for retrofits.
This incentive category requires you to install a Level 2 (208/240V) charging station, but it does not require that station to be network-connected. In other words, a dumb station which does not track energy consumption may be applicable so long as it is a Level 2 and approved for sale and use in Canada.
For this category, the charger must be purchased and installed before an application for reimbursement can be made, but only projects installed after January 2018 are eligible. The charging station must be installed by a licensed electrician and inspected by the appropriate authority, and of course you must produce all applicable receipts and certificates at the time of application.
Multi-Unit Residential Building (MURB)
(defined as having three or more dwelling units within the same building)
If your building is a multi-unit residential building built before January 2018, you may qualify for rebates under this category. MURBs are defined as Multiple-Occupancy Buildings and Mixed-Use Buildings which contain three or more residential dwelling units. Residents, building owners, managers, or other representatives such as strata councils who reside in or have oversight of the building can apply. The incentive in this category is for 75% of the project cost up to $4,000 per Level 2 charging station with a maximum of two stations eligible for rebates per property.
Unlike the Home category, the application for incentives must be approved before any project purchases are made. The initial application also requires you to upload an estimate which meets the charging station requirements, and a letter from the applicable strata council approving the project. According to Plug In BC, a decision will be made on the application within 30 days, and only costs incurred after application approval (and before the four-month mark) will be eligible for reimbursement.
The station requirements for this category are more specific and your Level 2 charging station will either need to be network-connected or installed with a revenue-grade power meter. There are also minimum requirements with regards to conduit sizing, junction boxes, and stall signage to clearly mark the EV charging station area as being exclusively for EVs.
(defined as a place of work with a minimum of five employees)
B.C. registered businesses, building managers, owners, and others who have oversight of a workplace can apply for incentives equalling 50% of the project cost, to a total of $4,000 per eligible Level 2 charging station. Level 1 charging stations are also eligible in this category for up to $2,000 in incentives per station. Eligible workplaces can be either owned or leased, but leased property must have at least three years remaining on the lease (from the date when the project will be completed). A dedicated employee parking area is required for eligibility as the stations must be restricted to employee-use, and the charging service must be provided free to employees for the first three years.
Like the MURB category, only existing buildings (constructed before January 2018) are eligible and the application for incentives must be completed prior to the project start. You’ll be required to provide an estimate for the project, proof of your B.C. business license, and an attestation that you have authority to install EV charging stations on the property. Plug In BC will make a decision within 30 days, and you will have four months to complete the project.
There is no limit to the number of charging stations you can include on your application, but there is a $25,000 incentive cap per property. As with the MURB category, only network-connected or metered charging stations installed by a licensed electrician are eligible for incentives.
We hope this brief summary of the new Plug In BC Charging Solutions and Incentive Program will help you better understand how EVSE rebates work in B.C. Keep in mind that these incentive opportunities typically aren’t available year-round, as funds are limited and tend to be exhausted before everyone has had a chance to apply. Kambo can help speed up the process to ensure you have the best chance at incentive dollars by preparing the required estimates and preparing your applications on your behalf. So, give us a call and let us help you make that important step towards more sustainable transportation.